Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, October 11, 2014

Another Saturday is in the books. This one passes without any upsets in the Big Ten.

Here?s my look at the day that was in Week 7.

Biggest surprise: Let?s hear it for Michigan! It wasn?t pretty, but the Wolverines got a much-needed 18-13 victory to end a three-game slide. This should quell critics-for at least five minutes. There?s still work to do in Ann Arbor. But it?s more fun to do it coming off a victory. Michigan has two weeks to prep for a trip to Michigan State. It needs it.

Biggest disappointment: Indiana. Some felt the Hoosiers had a chance to pull the upset at Iowa. Alas, IU fell behind, 28-7, in the first quarter and never could catch up en route to a 45-29 loss. When Nate Sudfeld left the game with an injury in the first half, the Hoosiers floundered. IU signal-callers hit 7-of-21 passes for 116 yards with one TD and three interceptions.

Play this again: Minnesota?s 24-17 win vs. Northwestern was a classic slug-fest that was tied 17-17 in the fourth quarter. That?s when the Gophers used a 100-yard kickoff return to notch the winning score and then hang on. Minnesota is 2-0 in the Big Ten for the first time since 2004. As I wrote here, it?s time to start believing in Goldy.

Never play this again: Illinois took a 14-7 lead at Wisconsin after a quarter. But the Badgers took over from there to build a 38-14 edge early in the fourth quarter before the Illini tallied a couple late TDs in a 38-28 UW victory. The Badgers outgained Illinois, 498-288.

Hope you didn't miss this: Illinois grad, Wisconsin native and PGA Tour veteran Steve Stricker hit golf balls onto the field at halftime of the Illinois-Wisconsin game. It was a cool moment. Read more here.


Illinois: C-
Indiana: C-
Iowa: B+
Michigan: B-
Michigan State: B-
Minnesota: B
Northwestern: C+
Penn State: D
Purdue: B
Wisconsin: B



Minnesota. The Golden Gophers have won three games in a row and are 2-0 in the Big Ten for the first time since 2004. Up next are games vs. Purdue and at Illinois. You thinking what I?m thinking? You know, that this team could start 7-1 overall and 4-0 in the Big Ten?

Iowa. The Hawkeyes moved to 5-1 overall and 2-0 in the Big Ten with a big win vs. Indiana. That?s three victories in succession for Iowa, if you are scoring at home. Most encouraging for the Hawkeyes was the offensive production that saw 45 points and 426 yards.

Michigan. The Wolverines are trending-just a bit. The team has some hope moving forward after a strong defensive effort vs. Penn State by allowing just 214 yards. The offense? Well, it?s still not good, netting 256 yards with only 64 on the ground. But let?s keep this positive, OK?


Penn State. That?s two losses in a row for the Nittany Lions after a 4-0 start. PSU has one TD in its last eight quarters. The offense is struggling in about every facet. And it?s difficult to envision things improving much as the season progresses.

Indiana. Losing two of three games is bad enough. But the Hoosiers also saw QB Nate Sudfeld leave the game in the first half with injury. That forced in true freshman Chris Covington, who struggled in completing just 3-of-12 passes for 31 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions. Sudfeld didn?t excel before leaving, hitting 4-of-9 passes for 85 yards with a touchdown and a pick. Getting to six wins may be difficult for 3-3 Indiana.

Illinois. How low can it go for the Fighting Illini? A 38-28 loss at Wisconsin is the latest setback, as Illinois is 3-4 overall and 0-3 in the Big Ten. The offense gained just 288 yards.


Iowa QB Jake Rudock. He completed 19-of-27 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns. Rudock played so well, there was no need to rotate with C.J. Beathard, as had been the plan. Beathard played sparingly, hitting 2-of-5 passes for nine yards.

Indiana RB Tevin Coleman. He continues to amaze, running 15 times for 219 yards and three TDs. That comes to 14.6 yards per carry. That average was fueled by touchdown jaunts of 83, 69 and 45 yards. Coleman has 120 carries for a nation-leading 1,060 yards and 11 TDs on the season.

Michigan State WR Tony Lippett. He made nine receptions for 138 yards and a TD, averaging 19.7 yards per grab. Lippett has 34 catches for 663 yards and 8 TDs for the season, averaging 19.5 yards per catch.

Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon. He carried 27 times for 175 yards and four TDs. The junior eclipsed 1,000 yards on the season in just Wisconsin's sixth game, a school record.


28, first-quarter points scored by Iowa, surpassing its total in each of its first four games against Power 5 schools. Iowa had neither scored nor allowed more than 24 points in a matchup with a fellow Power 5 school all season.

3, 100-yard rushing games in a row for Michigan State?s Jeremy Langford, who ran 13 times for 104 yards vs. Purdue.

0, interceptions by Wisconsin QBs Joel Stave and Tanner McEvoy, who combined to throw four last week in a loss at Northwestern. The duo hit 10-of-18 passes for 97 yards in a win vs. Illinois.

75, yards rushing by backup Illinois QB Aaron Bailey. He may be the spark the Illini offense needs with Wes Lunt out.

11, Big Ten wins in a row for Michigan State. The last time the Spartans lost a conference game? Nov. 17, 2012, a 23-20 defeat at home to Northwestern.

84, plays ran by Northwestern. Conversely, Minnesota ran 54. NU out gained Minnesota, 393-274, but lost.

1, touchdowns for Penn State in the last two games.

33, points allowed by Michigan State in the last two fourth quarters. In that span, MSU has scored 7-and that was by its defense.

164, rushing yards by backup Wisconsin RB Corey Clement, who carried 13 times and averaged 12.6 yards per carry with a TD.

100, yards Minnesota?s Jalen Myrick covered on a kickoff return to score a touchdown in the fourth quarter that proved to be the difference in the game vs. Northwestern.

133, yards receiving for Purdue?s Danny Anthrop on nine catches. That?s a career-high for the emerging go-to man.

106, yards rushing for Northwestern?s Justin Jackson. He ran for 162 the week before in a win vs. Wisconsin. The Wildcats may have found their feature back, and he's just a true freshman.

532, yards for Michigan State at Purdue. The Spartan offense is a terror even with a banged up line.

401, yards rushing for Wisconsin, its second 400-yard game of the season.

And, finally, I can't leave you without sharing this gem!

About Tom Dienhart senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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